Patrick J. Buchanan: 20 Years after 9/11—Are We Better Off?
The triumphant Taliban of today are far stronger than were the Taliban of 2001 who fled at the approach of the Northern Alliance. Al-Qaida is now present in many more countries than it was when we first launched the Global War on Terror.
Nor is the America of 2021 the hubristic self-confident country of George W. Bush and the neocons who were going to convert the Middle East into something like our Middle West and advance from there “with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”
Our country is a changed place from 2001. Gone are the unity, confidence and resolution. And how have all our interventions gone?
Call the roll.
Afghanistan is a lost cause, receding anew into the darkness.
There are reports the Chinese may be interested in establishing a residence at Bagram Air Force Base.
Saddam Hussein is long gone. But the Iraq we invaded to strip of weapons of mass destruction it did not have is now dominated by Iranian-backed Shiite militia. Only at the sufferance of the Baghdad regime are 2,500 “non-combat” U.S. troops permitted to hang on.
Syria, where we intervened to support anti-Assad rebels—and retain 900 U.S. troops—is a human rights hellhole.
Bashar Hafez al-Assad is victorious in his civil war thanks to Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah intervention on his behalf. The million Syrian refugees who fled west during that civil war have helped to turn Lebanon into a failed state.
Despite our support for Saudi air strikes that turned Yemen into a second humanitarian disaster, Houthi rebels still control the north of the country and the capital, Sanaa.
Looking back at the half dozen Mideast wars in which we have engaged since that first 9/11, where are we better off now than we were then? Al-Qaida, ISIS, Boko Haram and their variants have established a presence in Arab, Asian and African countries far beyond Afghanistan.